Despite what we now know to be a fundamentally flawed campaign strategy, Hillary Clinton was well on her way to victory until FBI director James Comey’s decision to tell Congress that there was a new development in the email server case. We now know that the events leading up to that letter were shot through with unprofessional and outright criminal behavior by rogue FBI agents who took matters into their own hands after Comey opted not to recommend indicting Hillary.
For one thing, agents investigating former congressman Anthony Weiner found the emails that supposedly triggered the letter on the laptop of his estranged wife, longtime Hillary aide Huma Abedin, on October 3–but waited three weeks to tell Comey about them. However, at least two people close to Trump knew about those emails before Comey knew about them–namely, Rudy Giuliani and Jim Kallstrom, both of whom admitted to being in contact with active agents investigating the case. Well, add a third to the list–former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince.
Until the Department of Justice’s inspector general announced an investigation into the events leading up to the Comey letter, the only third party to connect the dots in this tragedy was Huffington Post columnist, former public defender, and English professor Seth Abramson. Late Monday night, Abramson added a few more dots. He noticed that on November 4, Prince sat down for an interview with Breitbart News Daily, the satellite radio broadcast of the virulently pro alt-right and pro-Trump fake news site. Listen here–if you can stand it.
Prince, who was a major donor to Trump, revealed that he had “insider knowledge” of why Comey dropped his bombshell a week earlier. His sources? New York Police Department officers and detectives working the Weiner case. Those sources told Prince that when the NYPD got their hands on the laptop, they found material that made even the most grizzled veterans recoil with outrage.
Besides “State Department emails,” they supposedly found evidence of a trove of criminal activity by the Clintons and numerous other Democratic lawmakers–such as “money laundering, underage sex, pay-for-play, and, of course, plenty of proof of inappropriate handling, sending/receiving of classified information, up to SAP level Special Access Programs.” Among other things, they supposedly found that Bill and Hillary Clinton had gone on sex orgies with former Wall Street bigshot and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Prince claimed that the NYPD turned their findings over to the FBI and gave Comey an ultimatum–reopen the investigation, or we will hold a press conference of our own to announce a pile of arrests. As one brass hat at One Police Plaza supposedly put it, “he could not let that level of evil continue.” However, the Justice Department supposedly made the NYPD back down with “huge pushback”–including threats to charge someone in the Eric Garner case.
Nonetheless, according to this narrative, this was what “pushed the FBI off their chairs” and made Comey reopen the probe. As we know by now, less than 24 hours later, Comey revealed that the emails weren’t really new at all, but merely duplicates of emails the FBI already had.
There are a number of problems with this. For one thing, when the warrant was finally unsealed on December 20, it showed that the supposed probable cause was an email exchange between Hillary and Abedin. Nothing about criminal activity or wild orgies–just an email exchange. Indeed, it was so mundane that a number of legal experts condemned the warrant as a hatchet job at best and a Fourth Amendment violation at worst.
As a testimony to how outrageously criminal this was, the warrant would have been unsealed before the Electoral College convened, but Abedin claimed she never got a copy. According to Abramson, this was the very kind of leak that Comey supposedly feared would happen had he not written his letter. Not only does this show what little good that letter did, but it also proves Comey has no control over his own men.
Moreover, if I’m hearing Prince right, he openly admitted on national radio that he knew about the emails well before Comey did. There is no good-faith reason for why three political operatives with close ties to Trump would know about a politically explosive federal investigation before the FBI director knows about it. The fact that said operatives almost certainly knew damn well what they were doing makes it even more outrageous. You have a former U. S. Attorney and former head of the DOJ’s criminal division (Giuliani), a former FBI chief in New York City (Kallstrom), and a former major government contractor (Prince) on record as knowing about the emails three weeks before Comey knew about them. If this isn’t strong evidence that this election was tainted by a criminal act, I don’t know what is.
Abramson suggests that Giuliani leaked the information on direct orders from Trump, while Prince did so on orders from either Trump himself or Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon. Based on what we know, however, it’s way too early to suggest that Trump was directly involved in this travesty. For one thing, Giuliani has always been a cowboy, and it would have been perfectly in character for him to leak the information himself. While Prince is also a cowboy, the fact that he leaked this via Breitbart means that you have to at least wonder if Bannon knew about it. After all, Breitbart was so fanatically pro-Trump that many of its critics nicknamed it “Trumpbart.”
Abramson also suggests that Prince got richly rewarded for his role in this massive conspiracy. Not only was his younger sister, Betsy DeVos, tapped as Education Secretary, but Prince himself has been tapped as a shadow adviser to Trump on intelligence and defense. A more plausible explanation for DeVos’ presence in the cabinet is that she is one of many prominent fundies Trump named to his administration to repay his massive political debt to the religious right. Prince? He more than likely bought his way into the administration by giving scads of money to Trump.
Those caveats aside, though, two things are clear beyond any doubt. For one thing, at the very least, Trump fostered an environment in his campaign in which this sort of behavior even remotely acceptable. When that’s the best-case scenario, that’s not a good sign. It is equally clear that the election was tainted by outrageously criminal behavior on the part of rogue law enforcement officers. In a sane world, this would all but demand that Trump and Pence stand down–at least until someone with subopena power can get to the bottom of the dark matter surrounding this election.
Prince is already infamous for wrecking other countries. Well, it looks like he may have helped wreck his own.